Rajput (from Sanskrit raja-putra, "son of a king") is a patrilineal clan of western, central, and northern India, as well as parts of Pakistan. They claim to be descended from the rulers of North India's Hindu warrior classes. The Rajputs gained dominance during the 6th to 12th century and ruled the "vast majority" of princely states in Rajasthan and Surashtra till the 20th century. The Rajput population and former Rajput states can be found all over India, especially in the north, west, and central regions. Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar all have populations.
Rajputs are divided into numerous significant subdivisions known as vansh or vamsha, which are a step below the super-division jati. Suryavanshi denotes descent from the solar deity Surya, Chandravanshi from the lunar deity Chandra, and Agnivanshi from the fire deity Agni, and the Rajput are generally divided into three primary vansh: Suryavanshi denotes descent from the solar deity Surya, Chandravanshi denotes descent from the lunar deity Chandra, and Agnivanshi denotes descent from the fire deity Agni. Udayvanshi, Rajvanshi, and Rishivanshi are some of the lesser-known vansh. The numerous vanshs' histories were later documented in manuscripts known as vanshaavaliis.
Smaller and smaller subdivisions exist beneath the vansh division: kul, shakh ("branch"), khamp or khanp ("twig"), and nak ("twig tip"). Marriages within a kul are usually forbidden (with some flexibility for kul-mates of different gotra lineages). For many Rajput clans, the kul is their major identity, and each kul is guarded by a family goddess known as the kuldevi.